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UF Synergies: 2018-2019

Funded by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere

UF Synergies

General Objectives of the Series

The UF Synergies series features informal talks by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere’s Rothman Faculty Summer Fellows, Tedder Doctoral Fellows, and Rothman Doctoral Fellows. Fellows will speak for 20 minutes in length about their funded work, leaving ample time for questions and discussion. Talks are paired across disciplinary boundaries to stimulate discussions about threads and connections across research areas and allow for synergies of ideas to emerge in interdisciplinary conversations.

———- FALL 2018 ———-

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 4:00pm,
Walker 201D

Knowledge and Law in the Caribbean

Matthew Strickland (History)
“Civilizing Slaves: Imperialism, Anglicanism, and African Slavery on Codrington Plantation” 

Matthew Strickland’s presentation discusses the lives of enslaved people on Codrington Plantation on Barbados and the role of religious conversion that occurred there from 1710 to emancipation in 1838. Mr. Strickland focuses on the period when the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts owned the two sugar plantations. The following questions animate his research project about religious imperialism: How did the encounter with African slavery inform the Society’s theology of race and how did the enslaved Africans perceive their place within this imperial order? Analyzing a range of sources, including financial records, letters, and sermons, Mr. Strickland argues that the Society developed a civilizing mission as a precursor to religious conversion. By “civilizing” enslaved people, Anglican clergy believed slavery could be domesticated for British imperial interests.

Tameka Samuels-Jones (Sociology and Criminology & Law)
“Regulatory Law and Local Stakeholder influences on Green Crime in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica”

Tameka Samuels-Jones’s talk addresses questions about conflicting state regulations and indigenous cultural beliefs in the Blue and John Crow Mountains of Jamaica. The region has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, yet it is threatened by illegal deforestation, water pollution, and poaching. Ms. Samuels-Jones focuses on three groups in the area, the Marrons, Rastafarians, and local coffee farmers, and their relationship to the State law. Based on methodologies in Green Cultural Criminology, her research project provides insight into the cultural and legal factors that determine how to govern natural resources successfully.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 @ 4:00 pm,
Walker 201D

Ethics and Education in the Age of Accountability

Jaime Ahlberg, (Philosophy)
“Disability as Difference: Implications for Educational Justice”

Dr. Ahlberg’s talk offers a report from the inaugural summer residency at the National Center for the Humanities in summer of 2018, where she completed research on her project on schooling and disability. In her presentation, Dr. Ahlberg will explore a claim made by many activists in the Disability Rights Movement: that disability is not a matter of deficit or tragedy, but rather a matter of human difference.  She will discuss ways in which to understand this claim, its plausibility, and its implications for how to understand educational justice for students with disabilities.

Elizabeth Currin (Education)
“Storied Stance: An Oral History of Long-Term Teacher Researchers in the Age of Accountability” 

Elizabeth Currin focuses on “teacher research,” a form of self-directed learning in which educators study their own teaching in order to improve it. Through oral history interviews, Ms. Currin explores and documents the stories of long-term teacher researchers against the backdrop of increasing pressure to quantify learning outcomes in the high-stakes Age of Accountability. Her work addresses the sociopolitical and institutional contexts of their careers, while at the same time challenging the marginalization and trivialization of teacher research. By “storying” the stance of inquiry they take toward their teaching, she suggests teacher researchers offer a formidable counter-narrative to the dominant view of America’s so-called failing public schools.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 4:00 pm,
Walker 201D

Anti-Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Memory: Then and Now

Rachel Gordan (Center for Jewish Studies and Religion)
“1940s: The Decade of Anti-Anti-Semitism”

Dr. Gordan illustrates how in American Jewish literary history, the 1940s could be called the decade of the “anti-anti-Semitism novel.” Novelists including Arthur Miller, Saul Bellow, and lesser known, commercial writers published books about anti-Semitism in America. While anti-Semitism was a theme of most American Jewish literature before the mid-twentieth century, it was not the focus, as it was in this anti-anti-Semitism genre. These anti-anti-Semitism novels suggest that one of the ways that Americans responded to Hitler’s atrocities was by reviewing their own anti-Semitism problem, in fiction.

Esther Romeyn (European Studies)
“Holocaust Memory and Migration Politics in the Netherlands” 

Dr. Romeyn’s talk focuses on the role of memory of WW II and the Holocaust in the EU, proposing that it has taken on the status of a negative foundation myth. She will account for the EU’s efforts to institutionalize a transnational memory of the Holocaust as part of advocating for a shared set of values, which transforms Holocaust memory into a benchmark of European belonging. Such notions of European identity intersect with the question of migrant belonging discussed in relationship to European history. Dr. Romeyn will report on her research at Dutch Holocaust memorial institutions and their engagement with minority and migrant youth.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 4:00 pm,
Walker 201D

The Production of Race in Music and Science

Vassiliki (Betty) Smocovitis (Biology and History)
“Masuo Kodani, Genetics, and the Japanese American Experience”

Dr. Betty Smocovitis’s presentation traces the life of Masuo Kodani (1913-1983), a promising Japanese American geneticist, who found himself a stranger in his land and after Executive Order 9066 sent him to prison camp in 1942. Smocovitis follows his subsequent work as geneticist for Occupation Forces in Japan surveying the effects of the atomic bombs on survivors, and then his inability to obtain permanent positions as research scientist.  Kodani’s life is thus a study of marginalization and exclusion, of race and ethnicity, of hybridity and displacement, and the history of immigration policies in the United States with respect to Asian Americans in general and Japanese Americans in particular.

Bryce Henson (African American Studies)
“Race, Gender, and Bahian Hip-Hop Cultures” 

Dr. Bryce Henson’s talk presents on his ethnographic study of black hip-hop artists in Bahia, the northeastern state of Brazil. He frames hip-hop as a form of diasporic cultural politics that challenges forms of oppression. Within that study, however, he emphasizes cultural expression that move beyond hegemonic representations of black cultural politics, including those of gender and sexuality. He thus highlights how the Bahian hip-hop movement re-imagines blackness beyond discourses of respectability. Based on the methodology of critical ethnography, his project contributes to fuller account of black communities in the national imaginary of Brazil but including those who are marginalized in the nation and the diaspora.

———- SPRING 2019 ———-

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 @ 4:00pm,
Walker 200

Power in Mobility and Ritual

Luc Houle (History)
“On the Margins of Medieval Power: Ramon Berenguer V and Mobility” 

Luc Houle’s presentation will address the connection between mobility and power in the medieval world. He focuses in particular on Ramon Berenguer V, Count of Provence, and vassal of the Emperor Frederick II and their conflict in the years of 1232-33. Mr. Houle proposes that for Ramon Berenguer, control of territory was only a means toward more mobile forms of power, such as money, military service, marriage, and hospitality. Mr. Houle proposes that mobility itself should be a category of historical analysis in order to understand how power was exercised in medieval Europe.

Jodi Shaw (Religion)
“The Goddess and Dancing Śiva in the Multiple Ritual Worlds of Chidambaram”

Jodi Shaw attends to the contemporary ritual life of two interrelated Hindu temples in Chidambaram. Broadly, her work focuses on two forms of the Goddess in order to explore embodied experience of place and story, and to offer a more holistic vision of the temples than those which focus primarily on royal dynasties, Śiva lore (the presiding male deity) and orthodox philosophy.  Ms. Shaw contends the Goddess (in story, worship, and material presence) along with the voices and practices of women are integral to understanding the temples, the town, and Dancing Śiva. In her presentation, Ms. Shaw will share her findings from her study of traditional and non-traditional sources culled during her visits in archives and interviews with women and men in the temples.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 @ 4:00pm,
Walker 200

The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century

Jessica Harland-Jacobs (History)
“The Catholic Question and the British Empire, 1710s-1830s”

At the core of Dr. Jessica Harland-Jacobs’s talk lies the question how early modern and modern empires managed religious diversity and established the boundaries of imperial citizenship. She posits a “spectrum of incorporation.” Attitudes and policies toward people being incorporated into an expanding empire can range from persecution to accommodation. Her talk will focus on Catholics in the British Isles and British Empire between 1710s and 1830s with an emphasis on the later years. She concludes that religious identity was less significant in defining citizenship than one’ willingness to express loyalty to the monarch and ability to contribute to the expansion of British wealth.
**A reception will follow the final talk.**